Customer Complaints: A Guide to Resolving 8 Regular Issues

Lana Gerton Lana Gerton · 8 min read

In today’s hyper-connected world, where customers wield more power than ever before, businesses face an unrelenting challenge: customer complaints.

Did you know that, on average, dissatisfied customers will share their negative experiences with 9-15 people? That’s a remarkable ripple effect that no company can afford to ignore.

Handling customer complaints effectively is not merely customer service; it’s the foundation of building lasting customer relationships and fostering brand loyalty.

This blog post cuts through the noise and provides a guide to tackling eight of the most common customer complaints head-on.

Whether it’s a product issue, a billing dispute, or a frustrating customer service experience, our goal is to equip you with actionable strategies to transform complaints into customer satisfaction and loyalty opportunities. So, let’s get in and explore how you can turn those frowns upside down.

solve customer complaints

Why solve customer complaints?

Customer complaints are more than just an inconvenience; they can profoundly impact your business in two critical ways:

Keep customers coming back

Undertaking customer complaints is not just about addressing immediate issues; it’s about securing long-term customer relationships. One striking statistic underscores this point:

The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, while the probability of selling to a new prospect is just 5-20%.

By effectively resolving complaints with excellent customer service, you retain existing customers and increase customer satisfaction, enhancing the likelihood of future sales from these loyal patrons.

Help your business grow

Complaint resolution is not just about damage control but also a powerful tool for business expansion. Beyond retaining customers, resolving complaints plays a significant role in business growth.

Satisfied customers become advocates. They recommend your brand to friends and family, acting as powerful word-of-mouth marketers.

Positive recommendations from customers can lead to new business opportunities and organic growth. Addressing and analyzing customer complaints effectively prevents customer churn and improves customer satisfaction.

This way, you can boost your customers’ likelihood of speaking out for your business and brand.

fix customer complaints

8 Regular Issues of Customer Complaints and How to Fix Them

It’s essential to understand that most customer complaints arise from genuine concerns. Even when you believe everything was executed flawlessly, treating each complaint with the seriousness it deserves is crucial.

Now, let’s focus on how to resolve customer complaints. We’ll specifically zone in on the most common customer complaints and provide practical solutions to address them.

1. Common customer complaint #1: Long wait times

Customers get upset when waiting a long time on the phone. This can make them consider going to another business that helps them faster.

How to resolve this complaint
To fix this problem, apologize to the customer for making them wait. If you can, tell them why they had to wait. Let them know you want to help them quickly and value their time.

To help customers faster, the business should make some changes. They can hire more people to answer calls, especially when busy.

Using new tools and tech can also improve the call center and help workers do their jobs more easily. Doing this can mean customers don’t have to wait as long, making them happier.

2. Common customer complaint #2: Inability to speak with a human

This problem is a frustration many customers have encountered at one point or another. The inability to speak with a human being when they need assistance from a business.

This issue typically arises when automated phone systems or chatbots dominate customer interactions, leaving customers feeling isolated and unheard.

Customers find this issue awkward for several reasons:

  • Customers value personalized assistance, and automated systems fall short in this regard.
  • They prefer human interaction for understanding and empathy for complex or emotionally charged issues.
  • Automated systems may struggle to understand accents or speech impediments, creating communication barriers.

How to resolve this complaint
Offer customers a clear option to speak with a human representative, making it easily accessible for any unhappy customers.

Implement chat support with a straightforward way for customers to request assistance from customer service reps during the chat. Invest in training customer service reps to be knowledgeable, empathetic, and capable of handling various issues that can arise.

Balance automation with human interaction, ensuring automation handles routine inquiries efficiently while leaving more complex or sensitive matters to human representatives.

3. Common customer complaint #3: Product or service problems

When a customer can’t find their favorite product due to no stock, and they contact you to complain about it, it’s a good sign—it shows you have loyal customers.

However, even strong customer loyalty doesn’t compensate for the disappointment of not getting what they’re after. Working harder to fulfill the customer’s wishes is essential in such cases.

How to resolve this complaint
It’s good to be clear about when the product will be back. Sending emails or even texting links with updates can be helpful. Trust us, every kind of customer values a heads-up from the company.

See it as a good symbol if they’ve talked to you about the missing product. Ensure you give them clear info and let them know they’ll be the first to discover when the product is back.

4. Common customer complaint #4: Shipping delays

Shipping delays occur when there’s an extended time taken for a product to be delivered compared to the initially promised time frame. This could result from issues with the supplier, logistics challenges, or other unforeseen obstacles.

For customers, timely delivery is not just a preference but often a necessity. They might be waiting on a crucial item for an event, as a gift, or for personal use.

When there’s a delay, handling customer complaints is essential. Addressing a customer’s complaint promptly and compassionately can help maintain trust and moderate dissatisfaction.

How to resolve this complaint
Effective communication is key. Businesses should keep customers informed about the status of their shipments.

If delays are anticipated, notify the customer with an updated delivery timeline as soon as possible. Offering tracking options can also reassure customers, as they can monitor their progress.

Companies should work on strengthening their supply chain, partnering with reliable logistics providers, and maintaining a buffer stock to lessen unexpected disruptions.

5. Common customer complaint #5: Poor customer service

Poor customer service can manifest in many ways: unhelpful staff, long wait times or the lack of a prompt response to queries and issues.

Customers expect timely, polite, and effective solutions to their concerns. Poor service leaves them feeling underrated and frustrated, often leading to decreased brand loyalty.

How to resolve this complaint

  • Invest in training programs to equip staff with the right customer service skills.
  • Implement feedback systems to improve service quality continuously.
  • Ensure multiple communication channels are available for customers to raise their concerns.

6. Common customer complaint #6: Hidden fees

Hidden fees refer to unexpected charges that weren’t made clear to the customer at the outset of a transaction.

It breaks the trust between the company and the customer. Customers feel deceived when they have to pay more than initially communicated.

How to resolve this complaint
Businesses should adopt a transparent pricing strategy. All charges, fees, and potential add-ons should be communicated upfront. Fine prints should be minimized and, if present, highlighted effectively.

7. Common customer complaint #7: Difficulty getting a refund

Customers sometimes find the refund process complicated, lengthy, or stringent. When a product or service doesn’t meet expectations, customers want reassurance that they can recover their money easily. A tough refund process can escalate their dissatisfaction.

How to resolve this complaint

  • Establish a clear and straightforward refund policy.
  • Train customer service teams to handle refund requests empathetically and efficiently.
  • Regularly review and streamline the refund process based on customer feedback.

8. Common customer complaint #8: Lack of communication

Lack of communication from businesses arises when they don’t provide regular, clear, and relevant updates to their customers.

During any phase of the customer-business relationship, such occurrences can occur, be it pre-sale inquiries, post-purchase updates, or during the resolution of issues.

Customers often feel left in the dark when businesses need to communicate more effectively. This absence of information creates uncertainty and frustration, making customers question the reliability and professionalism of the business.

How to resolve this complaint
To tackle the issue of inadequate communication, businesses should first acknowledge its importance. Effective communication plays a pivotal role in setting and managing customer expectations.

Embracing tips for positive customer communication, companies should establish regular touchpoints with their customers, particularly during critical interactions.

For instance, customers can be updated about the product’s dispatch, shipping status, and estimated delivery date after a purchase.

tips and tricks

Tips and tricks for addressing complaints

Mastering the art of addressing complaints efficiently is crucial for fostering customer trust and ensuring long-term loyalty.

Active listening

Understanding customer concerns through active listening is the base of effective complaint resolution. It’s essential to hear and truly understand a customer’s issue. Here are some tips:

  • Empathize: Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. This will help you grasp the gravity of their concern better.
  • Ask Clarifying Questions: Don’t assume; ask if you’re unsure about details. This ensures you’ve captured the entirety of the issue.

Prompt response

Responding on time signifies that you value the customer’s time and concerns. Here’s how you can enhance responsiveness:

  • Set up Automated Acknowledgments: Even if it’s a simple “We’ve received your concern and are working on it,” it provides reassurance.
  • Delegate and Prioritize: Assign complaint resolution tasks to team members based on urgency and expertise to ensure swift and accurate solutions.

Solution Offering

An effective solution addresses the present complaint and prevents future ones. The key lies in a transparent and fair resolution process:

  • Consistent Policies: Ensure that your solutions align with company policies, which should be communicated to staff and customers.

Flexibility: While policies provide guidelines, sometimes unique problems require unique solutions. Train your customer service team to balance policy adherence and the need for flexible, case-by-case resolutions.

complaints handling

Complaints handling procedure

After setting up a policy, it’s time to establish a consistent method to address complaints. This ensures uniformity in how issues are tackled, regardless of who handles them. All team members should find this method easy to implement.

To manage complaints effectively, it’s crucial to have customer service scripts that guide your team through each step, ensuring consistency.

You can use AI script writing tools to generate these scripts quickly and automate the process further. Consider incorporating these steps into your complaints handling guide.

Step 1: Listen to the complaint

Express gratefulness to the customer for sharing their issue with you. Apologize sincerely without pointing fingers, ensuring you maintain politeness throughout.

Step 2: Record details of the complaint

Get into the issue to grasp its full extent. Consistently record all complaints in a dedicated system or log, enabling you to spot patterns or recurring challenges.

Step 3: Get all the facts

Ensure that the recorded complaint aligns with the customer’s concerns. Clarify any ambiguities by asking further questions.

Step 4: Discuss options for resolving the problem

Engage the customer by asking what resolution they envision: a product exchange, refund, fix, or a simple apology. Evaluate the feasibility of their expectation.

Step 5: Act quickly

Strive to address the complaint with urgency. Prolonged resolutions worsen the issue.

Step 6: Keep your promises

If there’s a change in the resolution timeline, keep the customer in the loop. Make sure to make assurances that are within your capacity.

Step 7: Follow up

Reach out to the customer post-resolution to gauge their satisfaction level. Share measures being taken to prevent such issues in the future.

Ensuring your team is well-acquainted with this procedure and empowered to act decisively is crucial. Emphasize the importance of customer feedback and complaints, underscoring your commitment to continuous improvement.


Final Thoughts

Addressing customer complaints isn’t just about damage control; it’s a golden opportunity for growth. The essence is valuing and strategically responding to customer feedback. Businesses can refine their offerings and enhance overall brand perception.

We’ve deeply understood various common complaints and the structured approach to handling them effectively. But beyond individual solutions lies a broader perspective: embracing complaints as a catalyst for continuous improvement.

As you journey forward, remember that every piece of feedback, positive or negative, is a stepping stone to creating a better customer experience.

If you’re eager to explore more strategies to uplift your customer service, check out Nicereply. The platform has resources and insights to help elevate your customer service game. Embrace feedback and transform challenges into opportunities!

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Lana Gerton Lana Gerton

Lana Gerton is the blogging coach and the CEO and founder of LANA, an acclaimed tech blog. Her mission is simple - to empower individuals to reach their full potential and achieve their dreams. With expertise in tech, analytics, business, and mindset, Lana inspires others to push others to new heights.

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